The fall hummingbird migration still has feeders popping! With most of the male Ruby Throats already in tow, females and babies are seeing less competition for nectar. They’re looking a bit plumper too as they prepare for the southward journey.
It’s pretty wild that even juveniles who’ve never made the trip, instinctively know to move south for winter – because they don’t follow mama and they don’t fly in flocks! The dwindling hours of daylight is their signal.
Nectar can be a little stronger this time of year as extra calories serve the birds well… they’re literally on a mission! So leave your window hummingbird feeder up, even if you don’t see anymore birds at the moment. Stragglers from the north may find an oasis at your place if fresh food is available for re-fueling.
To get an idea of the September-October migration, head on over to fall hummingbird migration (learner.org) and click the map to left. You can even submit your own comments about hummingbird activity at your place. Considered Citizen Science, the data greatly helps in tracking the tiny sprite’s movement.
If by chance you have a basin style window feeder, consider using it year-round for resident birds. Not filled with nectar, but mealworms, shelled peanuts, suet crumbles or similar. Remove the lid and your left with an ideal feeding tray!
We took an old plastic hummingbird feeder that started to leak (after a run through the dishwasher) and placed dried meal worms inside and hung from a branch. It was an instant hit with bluebirds, chickadees, titmice and warblers! Sure beats tossing a perfectly good feeder in the trash, huh?
Above all, leave at least one hummingbird feeder up for stragglers. There’s even documentation that some hummers stay year-round… in NC and even further north in MA. It’s a total myth that leaving feeders up will keep the birds from leaving… Mother Nature provides them with keen instincts far and beyond that of any two-legged creature!Follow @allpetsupplieso
Dawn through early morning would definitely be the best time to catch local bird action around your yard. But let’s face it, not all of us are early-birds and busy schedules don’t always permit those few spare minutes of enriching watch time.
With southern migrations underway for many species, it’s a great time to catch the action! Dusk and the hour or two prior offer almost as much (if not more) backyard bird action.
Sitting on the deck last night with about 25 hummingbirds furiously buzzing about seemed almost magical. Sure we’ve had the sprites here all summer, but fewer numbers. Going through 15 pounds of sugar to keep 8 feeders filled and fresh over the last two weeks or so has been extra work but rewarding. So as not to waste a drop of nectar, the ever important ant moat is a true life saver, for the birds and for the wallet!
If you’ve been feeding hummingbirds for any amount of time, it’s likely you’re familiar with the handy-dandy device, but if this is season one of your new hobby, know that one little ant moat will save a whole lot of nectar!
Because ants can’t swim, feeders stay protected from the pesky things. But you must keep the moat at least half-full with water. Ants emit something truly nasty to hummingbirds, and it only takes one to ruin a whole feeder full of fresh nectar. With the feeding frenzy going on now, this is a big fat bummer for hummers!
If you’ve had a few sprites visit but are not really seeing them now… something’s wrong! Either nectar is not fresh, there are ants around, or even worse, yellow jackets You can minimize the latter by keeping the outside of feeders clean, if they sway or leak, it’s an invitation to the nasty fliers.
Save money and provide hummingbirds the best nectar by making your own! It’s just plain table sugar and water… that’s it! No red dye, and nothing else for the solution as it’s harmful to their health. The standard ratio is 1:4 (1 cup sugar to 4 cups water) but at busy migration times when the hummingbirds are trying to fatten up for the long journey, the solution can be stronger, thus offering more calories. We go 1:3 when they arrive and when they depart.
Treat them well with fresh water sources (like a leaf mister shown here) and fresh food and they’ll grace your place next year. Site fidelity is another cool characteristic of these most intelligent birds!
If you put forth a little effort to help migratory birds on their way, you can sit back & enjoy the show.
Safe travels little ones, and we’ll see you next year on the flip side
These include crevices in trees and older abandoned holes from woodpeckers and others who’ve already done the work of excavation.
These spots are becoming more and more scarce, simply invaluable to feathered friends! Competition for these natural nest sites increases tenfold with every passing year, it’s a housing crisis for the birds
Especially favored among residents like bluebirds, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches and Carolina wrens (to name a few) are proper bird houses! In early spring males will scout territory and nesting sites, from unique birdhouses to natural cavities, they look for suitable and impressive digs to entice a mate.
Some will have only one brood or clutch, or nesting for the season, whereas bluebirds may go onto a 2nd or even 3rd brood! This is why it’s important to remove nests and tidy up bird houses once babies have fledged. So that the spot may be utilized again and maybe even again after that in a single season.
The cowboy birdhouse would be pretty impressive for the Mrs.! It’s durable poly-stone (which helps regulate ambient temperatures) complete with bottom clean-out and 1.5-inch entry. Plus it’s cute as all with western flair and fine detail.
A little larger scale but still great space for a bird family is the cowboy hat birdhouse! This one’s metal so it’s best placed in the shade. Actually full sun on any birdhouse can be detrimental in summer’s heat. Always best to minimize direct exposure to early morning if possible – avoid late afternoon sun at all costs… it’s just too hot for nestlings inside the house.
Keep your bird houses up through winter as they provide ideal roosting spots on cold nights and protection from predators. Although migration is underway for many species, resident birds will stick around through winter if the habitat is suitable.
Offering fresh water (heated birdbath), a variety of food (seed and suet) and places to roost (housing and mature trees and shrubs) will ensure feathered friends grace your place through winter doldrumsFollow @allpetsupplieso
By straight up we mean no gadgets, gizmos or batteries- just a straight up good design that works well! The Classic Feeders by BirdsChoice, and The Big Top by Droll Yankees are two off the bat. Nuttery has been making their cool feeders for 20 years. Wildly popular in the UK, and now available in the US. They’re mod and colorful squirrel proof bird feeders for peanuts, suet or seed.
The horizontal launching point (HLP) must always be considered when placing ANY feeder. What is HLP? Ok, we made it up but it really does exist! When furry acrobats are able to access a feeder by jumping sideways from a structure, tree, limb, fence, or anything which might present them a launching opportunity! Some can fly as far as 8-10 feet sideways.
Although the term squirrel-proof is used rather loosely, we’re not sure if anything really and truly fits the bill? But there are definitely some feeders that fall within 98%.
In hanging or pole mount with built-in baffle, the Classic is… well pretty much classic! It’s been around at least 25 years which says something for the design itself. The hanging style comes in two sizes with a weather guard to protect seed ports and birds from rain and snow. Squirrels just can’t reach down far enough to access seed. With the pole-mount feeder (weather guard optional) they can not get passed the baffle… it’s both genius and simple and above all, time-tested.
No need to make a headache for yourself (or your birds) when there’s some great squirrel-resistant feeders out there!Follow @allpetsupplieso
If it seems the tiny birds have had big attitudes guarding their feeders, just wait… you ain’t seen nothing yet if it happens to be your first season hosting the winged wonders!
Crazy, absolutely crazy behavior fussing and fighting over one, two even three feeders at a time- and rightly so. This time of year, survival depends on being plump and fueled up for migration to central and South America.
An additional nectar source, like this cool hummingbird feeder may very well help to alleviate some of the territorial behavior. If your feeder is in back, place another in front, or at least out of view from the original feeder.
A whole new way to feed hummingbirds, it’s orientation is horizontal – imagine that? The two-foot long tube features 22 red flower feeding ports. Nectar is distributed evenly, without adding so much that some goes to waste. The feeder accommodates an ant moat if necessary and hangs from two sturdy adjustable cords. Flexible hanging options allows the cords to be gathered at top so the feeder may also hang from a single hook. It’s not too late in the season to think about additional feeders because the sprites will be back next spring… and they remember your yard and feeders. Site fidelity is just one more cool behavior hummingbirds practice.
This cool hummingbird feeder’s design has been patented and hummer-approved, check out the action below!
It’s a great opportunity for kids and grown-ups to meet some local raptors up close and personal! Beth Thomas (wildlife educator) is bringing 5 of her majestic birds for a presentation with Q&A’s and photo ops.
Our local Wild Birds Unlimited in Dallas, GA happens to be celebrating their 10-year anniversary with a special day of learning, fun, refreshments and savings… raffles for products and face painting for kids included!
If you reside anywhere nearby, it’s worth the trek to come see the owls and hawks like you’ve never seen them before!
And as for Milo, tuxedo resident rescue feline (and head honcho) well… he will be AWOL for the dayFollow @allpetsupplieso
Mr. Chipping sparrow needs to cool off, he enters the naturally textured birdbath with gentle slope as it’s quite enticing. But surprise! You reside in Atlanta where it’s hotter than Hades right now and the bath water isn’t just warm… it’s hot
Not so refreshing… except for the gentle spray from the leaf mister above! Like the shoemaker’s daughter with worn shoes, our own mister at home is really old with a slight drip. But the drip is ideal over a birdbath as it keeps the water moving (no mosquitoes) and adds fresh, cool water on a slow and steady basis. Birds are absolutely wild for it! So much so, they sit and wait for the misters to start every morning, it’s like a virtual bird spa.
This mister is attached to an old metal… not sure what it is, but a simple plastic plant stake with twist-tie works great. Even the garden benefits with ease of mobility, moving the stake around to different sections each day. Gardens grow lush, and birds love taking leaf baths too!
When placed over a birdbath, leaf misters offer fresh and cool water for birds, butterflies and other wildlife. Activity is pretty amazing on warm summer days. Stagnant water is no fun for anyone when temperatures remain in the 90’s. Adding a water feature like a dripper, solar fountain or water wiggler to your birdbath will bring it to life, entice more birds, and keeps water fresher for longer periods of time.
The whole set-up is shown below and it’s simple to recreate. The misters come with everything to be up & running in minutes! With 50 feet of tubing, it attaches to the outdoor spigot, complete with Y-valve that keeps garden hose free for use. Extra tubing is optional, and we can promise (from personal experience) birds LOVE these things!Follow @allpetsupplieso
But first the delectable mix that so many bird species seem to adore, it’s perfect for tray style window bird feeders and any type of platform or dish feeder too. There’s no measuring and it mixes up easily in a gallon zip-lock bag. With a little something for everyone, many bird species have been spotted taste testing!
- 1 No-Melt suet cake, finely crumbled (we use peanut or orange)
- 2 handfuls of shelled peanuts
- 2 handfuls of dried mealworms
- 2 handfuls of sunflower hearts
- Mix well by shaking bag vigorously
The yummy mix is full of fat & protein, and we’ve seen chickadees, titmice, cat birds, Carolina wrens, bluebirds, woodpeckers and others trying it on for size. Approval seems unanimous, definitely a keeper!
And the big visitors? Take a gander at these 4-legged birds! Living in a subdivision it’s not everyday one sees horses grazing freely, but that’s what was out there! Failing to snap a photo of them loose in the back because panic ensued and who to call was the task at hand. After reaching animal control services, I was most relieved to hear the horse’s people were indeed looking for them, and they arrived in minutes. Off they went- end of excitement for the day, the pony sure was a little cutie, he’s the one who likely pushed the gate open too!
Regardless of using tube style hummingbird feeders or basin designs – they all have feeder ports which are difficult to clean. A mascara brush is the absolute perfect solution for reaching in and and scrubbing these tiny ports. Of course you’ll want to first sanitize the brush by running it through your dishwasher, or place it in boiling water to completely remove all residue as chemicals are harmful, probably even fatal to hummingbirds.
The tiny brushes are ideal for all types of other bird feeders and their hard to clean spots. These small spaces that are hard to reach usually accumulate crud (another word for mold and bacteria build-up). It’s imperative to bird’s health to keep any feeder from growing crud in the first place.
And forget about the “red myth” for both nectar and feeders themselves… it’s not true! We think the tiny sprites actually prefer home-made nectar over commercial mixes. Plain table sugar and water is it, that’s all you need. 1 cup sugar to 4 cups of water. Store nectar in the fridge for up to two weeks. No need to even boil the water, but we boil one cup just to dissolve sugar more effectively. Adding 3 cups of cold water also alleviates any wait for cooling time. You can fill feeders immediately and hang.
So many fun styles and colors that add interest to the garden, deck, patio or balcony! Hummingbirds will go for them provided nectar is fresh and there’s no other pests around causing competition (ants. bees, wasps and yellow jackets). Leaking sugar water is the main culprit in attracting pests, so keep feeders clean and use an ant moat if the need arises. Place feeders away from windy areas as a rocking/moving feeder causes spillage. The sweet sticky stuff is a magnet for other visitors who are not so welcome.
Thanks Sephora for the mascara image above!
It takes all kinds… all kind of feeders that is. For suet, peanuts, mealworms, nectar, fruit, jelly, nyjer, where does one start? Let’ go with basic seed in a not so basic feeder! Headed to a house-warming or birthday party? Something like this wild bird feeder is perfect when you’d like to bring a little more than a bottle of vino. Long after consumption, this gift keeps on giving! Even if the recipient isn’t into the birding scene… it’s a fantastic way to to introduce them to one of the fastest growing and most enjoyable hobbies around!
Handcrafted in GA, the bottle feeder quickly mounts just about anywhere, and birds flock to it immediately! The stash stays dry and protected from elements, while drainage in the tray keeps things from getting messy. Black oil sunflower or mixed seed works best, we prefer sunflower hearts or a no-waste mix as it leaves little ground mess. Many feathered species prefer sunflower hearts too; chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, cardinals, bluebirds will eat this seed in winter, finches and woodpeckers… to name just a few of the usual suspects!
For a limited time, the bottle feeder is back because the artist says they just take too long to make! Wildly popular on Pinterest a few years ago, the bird feeder looks like something you could easily make yourself, maybe so if you’re the handy type? The one thing we do know is birds love this feeder and it’s perfect for year-round use.Follow @allpetsupplieso